Last week, after information provided to Town Councilman Jim Atterholt by Town Attorney John Herin, we reported that the town was in pretty solid shape with insurance if it was hit with a Bert Harris lawsuit over the dune walkover. Turns out, that’s not really the case.
Fort Myers Beach has insurance through the Florida League of Cities. If the dune walkover goes to a trial attorney’s affiliated with The Florida League of Cities would defend the town in the litigation, so the town would not have to pay outside council.
We were originally told that attorney’s fees would be covered by the insurance and at least $1 million if it was determined that the town owed the homeowners the difference in the value of their homes. That’s not correct.
Attorholt received additional information from the Town Manager that the coverage limit is $200,000 total. Attorney’s fees would also be deducted from the $200,000.
The town has already spent at least $250,000 on this issue. If it goes to a Bert Harris lawsuit the town will need to hire outside council to help Town Attorney John Herin.
In the claim filed against the town by Rood and Kroemer say that their homes have been significantly devalued after losing access to the beach. Rood claims his home is worth $682,500 less and Kroemer claims his home is worth $426,500 less.
The town has about 125 days to respond to their claim. There is also the possibility this could be resolved in litigation before it goes to a trial. Earlier this week the town in a 3-2 vote refused to accept an offer made by Rood and Kroemer which included $105,000.